About CU Green Labs - Championing efficient, effective science in labs of benefit to funding, people, and the environment

Laboratories are important centers of intellectual innovation and discovery in our society. They also have a large environmental footprint. Because laboratories are large consumers of resources and thus present huge opportunities for conservation, a special emphasis for conservation has been placed on laboratory operations since 2009 through the creation of the CU Green Labs Program.  The program is jointly funded by the Environmental Center and Facilities Management. 

In 2017 Facilities Management reported that major laboratory research buildings at CU Boulder occupy 22% of campus square footage but were repsonsible for 43% of campus energy use. CU has approximately 500 laboratories on its Boulder campus.  

The CU Green Labs Program is working with these labs to promote the efficient use of resources by:

  1. Involving individual laboratory members in identifying opportunities for efficiency in their laboratory and promoting efficient behaviors
  2. Upgrading inefficient laboratory equipment and techniques
  3. Compelling labs to use lab space, fume hoods, and lab equipment resources efficiently and in a collaborative manner
  4. Developing means to reduce the large flow of lab materials into the waste stream
  5. Promoting green chemistry and chemical re-use where feasible
  6. Raising awareness about the large resource footprint of laboratories

The CU Green Labs Program is striving for efficient science through collaboration and partnership.  Efficient science is more than just purchasing an energy efficient piece of equipment.  It is about maximizing the positive impact that research dollars can have.  It is about keeping overhead costs down through efficiency to minimize research’s footprint on the Earth while keeping research dollars focused on science and improving research conditions.  When we use resources, in support of research, efficiently and effectively (from funding to equipment to space to utilities, etc.), that is what our program describes as efficient science.  

new Green labs flower design